The Ancients

The Polynesians: Ancient Mariners of the Pacific

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Episode notes

The ancient Polynesians remain the greatest seafarers in history. Already by the time of the legendary founding of Rome on 21 April 753 BC, Polynesian voyagers had crossed huge parts of the Pacific Ocean and settled on isolated islands such as Tonga and Samoa. Mind-boggling and incredible. Later they would voyage even further into the Pacific, settling the likes of Easter Island, Vanuatu and New Zealand. So how did they do this? How were they able to reach these far-flung islands in their iconic canoes? What were the keys to their success? And perhaps most fascinating of all what drove groups of Polynesians to want to set sail in their iconic canoes into the vast and treacherous Pacific? So many questions still surround the ancient history of Polynesia and their unparalleled voyaging across the vast Pacific Ocean and in this podcast I was delighted to be joined by Christina Thompson to talk me through this 'Puzzle of Polynesia'. From the iconic outrigger canoes to the canine animals they brought with them, she explains what we do know (and what are the theories) about the ancient Polynesians and their incredible voyages across the Pacific Ocean. Christina is the author of: 'Sea Peoples: The Puzzle of Polynesia' and 'Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All'  

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